[JURIST] Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) [advocacy website] sued [complaint, PDF; press release] the Indiana State Department of Health [official website] on Thursday, challenging a new regulation [text] on abortion facilities. Under the law, facilities prescribing Mifepristone, the so-called "abortion pill," will be defined as an abortion clinic and be required to meet regulatory requirements of surgical facilities, even when they do not provide surgical procedures. Such renovations and updates can be interpreted to include the provision of operating rooms, the likes of which can cost millions for clinics that do not already have such facilities and do not plan to provide any operations. Betty Cockrum, President of PPINK, reflected on the medical and legal implications of the amendment:
The additional restrictions in this new law are in no way related to patient safety. ... This law is clearly part of a coordinated national effort to end access to safe, legal abortion by trying to shut down Planned Parenthood health care centers, which also provide Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control and STD testing and treatment.PPINK is represented by the national Planned Parenthood organization and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana [advocacy websites].
A number of states have recently passed laws relating to reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder]. Earlier this month a Wisconsin judge issued an injunction against that state's abortion law until the ACLU's legal challenge against its constitutionality is determined [JURIST report]. In July Ohio instituted new restrictions [JURIST report] requiring women to first undergo ultrasounds before having an abortion. In April North Dakota enacted [JURIST report] a measure banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on the controversial premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and several other states [JURIST news archive] have all taken similar controversial measures in the name of surgical safety.